Posts Tagged ‘integrated marketing’

IMC Reflections

December 4, 2017

Do you want the good news or the bad news?

The good news: I have completed the Integrated Marketing Communications Program at WVU and I am so glad I decided to do so.

The bad news: marketing is ever changing and the minute you stop learning, you stop succeeding. By the time I cross the stage to accept my diploma there may be a new tactic yielding results.

To celebrate the end of my studies, I decided to dust off this marketing blog for some reflections on my time spent in the program. And because I don’t know what to do with my extra time. And I did take my sweet time…2.5 years to be exact. That’s the beauty of the program, you complete it on your own time. Through international travel, an organization change, an engagement, a relocation from DC to Orlando, and a promotion – my time spent in the program was eventful to say the least.

Here are some of my tips for current or prospective students:

  1. If you fake it, you won’t make it. Read the course material. Don’t act like you know what you’re talking about…you don’t. If you did then you would be the teacher and not the student.
  2. Don’t take the easy way out. One day when I was groaning about leaving work to go write a paper and my previous boss gave me a piece of advice that stuck with me: “make sure you learn something.” She was so right. This program was an investment in myself and if I didn’t take the time to understand, learn, and evolve then I would be doing myself a huge disservice.
  3. Agree to disagree. Some of my most insightful lessons came from fellow students challenging points I made. Another advantage of the program is that students are all involved with marketing in different capacities and bring many perspectives. You’ll hear different approaches, viewpoints, and ideas and they all add up to becoming a stronger marketing professional.
  4. You don’t have to be perfect. I made it all the way through the program with a 4.0 (humble brag) until my final class. As graduate students, you are expected to submit quality work that’s free of grammatical errors or lack of research. You need to prove your knowledge. However, life happens. Some weeks are harder to balance than others and that’s okay, manage your time and stay caught up but don’t feel a “B” is any less valuable than an “A.”
  5. Do it for yourself. Don’t enter the program for anyone other than yourself. Not for your organization, not for your parents, not to say you did. You’ll hate every step of the journey if you only have your eyes on the end. You’ll emerge a stronger, smarter marketer and you alone will steer your next direction.

-Megan Keating


Megan Keating is the director of marketing for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.

 

March 16, 2017

Jenn-Cartmille

Jenn Cartmille is expected to graduate in December 2017. She currently resides in Columbus, Ohio, where she is the Marketing Manager for the Greater Columbus Sports Commission. 

If you’re anything like me, the thought of going back to school while working full time can be overwhelming. It’s easy to be flooded with notions that it will be impossible to balance work and school, the ROI will be minimal, and the ultimate question, “How does this apply to my career goals?”

I get it, I had all those thoughts plus some when I researched graduate schools. My undergraduate program and internship experience placed me in a favorable position upon graduating in 2011. However, as I immersed myself into the “real world” and began the professional journey, it became clear that my career was taking me down a path I hadn’t originally intended.

You see, I was focused in communications and PR but, welcomed opportunities that led me toward marketing.  I soon developed a passion for content marketing, brand management, and how organizations can take an integrated strategic approach to marketing.

Upon discovery of the IMC program, it was obvious that WVU understood the importance of working while obtaining your degree and all those worries in regard to graduate school washed away. Funny how that happens when the right fit comes along. Speaking of the right fit: Soon after being accepted into the program, I took a job at the Greater Columbus Sports Commission (Sports Commission) as Marketing Manager. A new position for the organization, my role was designed to focus on brand-elevating and client-relevant marketing strategies.

Talk about new beginnings.

The Sports Commission is a non-profit whose vision is to transform Columbus into one of the world’s best sports destinations.  We bid on sporting events to drive tourism to the city. Once Columbus lands a sporting event, it is our job to service the event and make sure people, both locally and outside the city, attend the event. In addition to those portions of our job, the marketing department supports the Sports Commission brand.

Fast forward (almost) two years and I’m nearing the end of my graduate journey. As I reflect on these past couple years, I can say without hesitation that I would not have been as successful at the Sports Commission without this master’s program.

I have used the Sports Commission as a “client” in numerous classes, which in return has been a catalyst for the development of the organization’s IMC plan and its first marketing campaign that isn’t event-driven. Additionally, a website redesign is set to launch in June, a focus on in-house content marketing, dedicated efforts to web and social media analytics, all of which have transformed the way we approach our vision. The coursework and WVU professors have all been part of that journey with me as they’ve guided, critiqued, and pushed me to be the best marketer for the Sports Commission.

There are so many benefits to the IMC program and I could happily list them over a cup of coffee any day. However, if you leave this blog post with any piece of information, I hope it is this: The IMC program provides the tools for taking a holistic approach to how marketing, communications, PR, business development, events, and operations all fit into one to support and accomplish your company/organization/brand’s goals.

And for that, I will calculate the ROI on the IMC program for the remainder of my career because it will continue to prove its worth well into the future.

Top 10 Reasons to Love Social Media in Marketing

September 22, 2016

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1.Social media is present. – See things as they happen. Watch as conversations around your posts develop and mature over time. See what your consumers and clients are saying as they say it.

2.Social media is measurable. -You can track which messages are received the best by your followers. Data is present in almost every form of social media. Analyzing that data will give you actionable information to react to, whether that is discovering that sharing more photos will boost your click through rate or offering promotions as part of your posts will net your company more followers and likes.

3.Social media is fast. – Get your message out to your consumers faster without delays or airing schedules. Social media allows you to share things with clients and consumers faster than traditional media or news sources. If an event happens that paints your company in a bad light, you can use social media to respond and reassure your consumers all in one place hours before the evening news or newspaper.

4.Social media is able to put you where the customers are. – You can reach large amounts of people at the same time!. Social media gives you one more channel to allow consumers to discover your products or services without leaving the social media sites they already use.

5.Social media is global. – Anyone anywhere in the world can find you and follow you. Reach consumers in every country in the world through a social media site.

6.Social media is flexible. – There is a platform for everyone. Microblogging, blogging, pictures, videos – whatever the consumers would like to see, social media can do. The only limit is your imagination in how to use a particular platform to reach your consumers.

7.Social media is easy. – Almost everyone can use social media for their businesses. The platforms already exist, so no need to set up something special to try to reach consumers. No need for forums or listservs when your Twitter or Facebook account will serve the same purpose in getting out your message.

8.Social media is conversation. – Businesses can start a conversation with their followers and get in the minds of what they are really thinking. Hashtags and content tagging give consumers ways to find the content and allows you to link conversations as they happen. Follow the conversations through the content to find out what is really on your customers’ minds.

9.Social media is a way to see what your competitors are doing. – “Spying” is easy on social media. Discover what your business competitors are doing (or not doing) on social media and follow their trends and conversations to find out what is working and not working for them. Know why their customers love them and follow them. It may give you ideas about how to approach your own customers for the same products or services.

10.Social media is “digital word of mouth.” – Followers will share things with their own friends and families. This is probably the most powerful part of social media. Given the right motivation, enough people can share your message through “digital word of mouth” that no other advertising may be necessary. Find those passionate about your product or services and watch as they share that information with their own followers. Those followers may share that information, whose own followers may also share.

What are your favorite reasons to use social media in marketing?

Make your integrated marketing efforts so sweet, it’s like they were “Just Born” today

June 4, 2016

JustBornBlog.png

In today’s day and age, information is EVERYWHERE! From television and radio to billboards and magazines, products and services are constantly being advertised, and, frankly, people are becoming desensitized. So, in a world of advertising-overload, how can you make your company stand out and leave a lasting impression with its audience?

Matthew J. Pye, Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Just Born Quality Convections, addressed this question during his session at West Virginia University’s 2016 INTEGRATE conference. Pye faced this issue first-hand while working for Just Born, maker of the iconic Peeps, Mike & Ike’s and Hot Tamales. He says, in order to make your company and its products stand out in a crowd, you must learn to leverage three things.

1. The power of partnerships
Together, everyone can achieve more! To be successful, partnerships must optimize the strengths of each party to create win-win situations.

2. The power of public relations
Although advertising sustains brands, it’s public relations that builds them. Utilize any and all public relations and publicity to create buzz about your organization and its products.

3. The power of branding
You and your company’s employees should be your biggest brand evangelists. With that being said, to be successful, start your branding efforts from within.

By successfully leveraging the power of partnerships, public relations and branding, your company will undoubtedly stand out among its competitors. In the words of Matthew J. Pye, if you are ever having trouble, just remember to K.I.S.S.—Keep It Simple Stupid!

For someone like me, who is contemplating a career in corporate communications and branding, this session was extremely enlightening. To hear from someone who has worked with an iconic brand like Peeps, was a treat sweeter than the candy itself.

-Megan Bayles

A Few Final Tips for the WVU IMC Program

July 15, 2015

kat shanahan wvu imc reed college of media

 

I feel like I’m forgetting something. I keep reaching for my computer thinking that I have copy to write, an ad to design, or a budget to adjust. The reality is that I’m not missing anything. My final IMC campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is uploaded and in the mail.

I’d be lying if I told you submitting the campaign was all sunshine and puppies. I needed a reality check after I submitted it because I was worried that someone was going to steal the mailbox…yes…the entire mailbox. Putting everything you have into a campaign for roughly nine weeks takes a toll on you. I’m still working on processing the fact that I’m actually done, but as I reflect on my 3 years (90 weeks of class) in the program I wanted to share what I learned.

  1. Plan, but don’t over plan. I LOVE to plan.  I’m the kind of person that enjoys planning their free time. When I started the program I went through and planned out my entire schedule. I picked and scheduled all of my classes including my electives. While planning my academic future was beneficial, as I moved through the program my areas of interest changed. As I learned more about different areas of IMC I wished I could go back and change some of my electives. I will say it’s a good idea take your electives when they’re offered (because they’re not offered every term), but keep in mind that your interests may change over the course of the program.
  2. Remember why you’re doing this. Prior to enrolling in the WVU IMC program I told a friend of mine that I would never get a master’s degree. As I started to change my mind I looked at the WVU IMC curriculum and my mouth started watering. I fell in love with the content and immediately made connections between what I was doing at work and what was being offered in classes. I started this program because I wanted to grow as a professional. I didn’t start the program to earn As in all of my classes. It can be easy to get wrapped up in grades and making sure you get a 10/10 on discussion posts, but that’s not why we are here. Think back to your undergraduate days. Do you remember every single assignment in which you didn’t earn the grade you wanted? You’ll forget about grades, but you won’t forget about putting in the work and getting everything you can out of your time in the program.
  3. Get to know your professors: When I met Prof. Sader for the first time at INTEGRATE 2015 he told me that I worried too much. He was 100% correct. He also told me that he was there to be a mentor for me and not just give me a grade. He encouraged me to reach out with questions or problems. Professors actually want to help you grow as a professional. I didn’t take advantage of that enough while I was in the program. They want to get to know you and help you learn everything you can. Take advantage of that because you may not be able to find those resources elsewhere.
  4. Go to INTEGRATE! This is a big one. My entire graduate experience changed when I went to INTEGRATE. The second I stepped on campus I felt like a Mountaineer. You can’t get that feeling unless you visit campus. INTEGRATE is a fantastic conference. You get to meet classmates, build relationships, and talk to professors and program administrators, while hearing from amazing industry professionals. The first year I went I traveled by myself and knew no one in the program. Now, I’m in a book club with WVU IMC alumni and get to talk marketing with them every month. You never know who you’ll get to meet and connect with, so take advantage of it!
  5. Fill out course evaluations. I know this sounds like a plug on behalf of the program, but I promise you it’s not. My life motto is that I can’t complain about things I have the power to change but decide not to. So I either stop complaining or step up and do something about it. We have the power to implement positive change in the program, but change cannot happen if we don’t use the right channels.
  6. Develop your voice and personal brand. I’ve already shared my thoughts on personal branding, so I won’t bore you with that again. But, I will say that this is the time to experiment with your voice and your style. Use this as an opportunity show your style in a professional way.
  7. Develop and trust your process. In the program you’ll write roughly 99 discussion posts, 400 responses, 70 papers and 1 enormous campaign. Start to develop and trust your writing process. This took me a long time to develop and I’m still working on it. But here’s what I know
    1. I need to spit out a first draft before doing anything else (The Ugly First Draft if you’re an Ann Handley fan, which you should be.)
    2. I need to re-read things the next day
    3. Most of the time, I get a second opinion
    4. I need to cut myself off – If allowed, I will read and read and read until the absolute last minute. At some point, I need to stop overanalyzing and hit submit

I’m sure if I sat here long enough I could come up with 100 more things to keep in mind, but that I think it’s time to wrap things up.  If you’ve made it this far I want to say thank you. Thank you for reading my thoughts over the past few years and thank you for sharing yours. To all of you in the program – best of luck. You can absolutely do this and you will be a stronger marketer for it. Reach out to alumni if you need anything, we are nerdy marketers who love to connect with students in the program.

All the best,

Kat

#Integrate15: Move Over, Millennials. Generation Z Is Here.

May 30, 2015

Millennials aren’t kids anymore.

There’s a new generation capturing marketers’ attention, as Patti Girardi explained during Friday’s INTEGRATE breakout session titled “Marketing to Generation Z.”

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I enjoyed having the opportunity to chat more about Generation Z with Girardi, also a WVU IMC instructor, at Friday’s networking reception.

 

Who is this rising generation? Born between 1995 and 2010, those in Generation Z are currently in the age range of 5-20 years old. While young, they represent more than 25% of the population and command $44 billion in spending power—meaning marketers cannot ignore them or just toss them under the millennial umbrella.

While millennials—Generation Y—are frequently described as tech savvy, Generation Z is tech innate. Think millennials’ average multitasking of 2 digital screens is excessive? Generation Z averages five.

It’s no surprise that Generation Z expects brands to be on point on all social platforms as the group doesn’t differentiate between the internet and social media. In fact, many search brands’ social media rather than websites when seeking online resources about things like schools.

A focused and realistic group, Generation Z place high value on rallying around social causes. As many volunteer and show concern for the planet, they want to do work that makes an impact on the world. Both 9/11 and the Great Recession have been defining moments in shaping Generation Z youth.

Also a key influence on Generation Z is the dynamic of the young group often living in multi-generational households. Further, they often take the diversity associated with millennials to the next level as many are multiracial.

For marketers trying to effectively approach this new generation, storytelling, trust-building, and establishing a brand-consumer friendship are important.  As Girardi said, “If they believe in what you’re selling, they’re all about it.”

How do you think Generation Z will influence the future of integrated marketing?

Help INTEGRATE Speaker Gini Dietrich Spread the Message that #SpinSucks

April 1, 2014

INTEGRATE 2014 will be kicking off in roughly two months with not to be missed breakout sessions and featured speakers! Being held in an intimate academic setting affords you, the attendee, the opportunity to directly interact with IMC thought leaders. As a two time conference attendee, I encourage you to become part of the discussion early and often on the issues that directly impact your industry, career, and academic future. Make this weekend an annual event where you completely devote yourself to IMC professional development. What you will take away will be more valuable than the financial and personal commitment you will have to exert to make it out to Morgantown during the weekend of May 30th-31st.

Looking at the schedule, one of the featured speakers that I am most excited to see this year is Gini Dietrich, founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm.

 

Gini Dietrich

 

Gini’s name first crossed my path when I first began to curate an integrated marketing board on Pinterest. The book she co-authored with Geoff Livingston titled, Marketing in the Round graced my IMC search field. From that pin on, I become a follower.
Spin Sucks
In preparation for the release of her new book, Gini posted an opportunity to her followers on Spinsucks.com to become ambassadors of the book. She had over 800 responses and her team narrowed down the applicant list to 160. I entered my name into the pool and was selected as a Spin Sucks ambassador and was afforded the opportunity to read the book in advance of the release!

If you are looking for a holistic guide to navigating the PR field, this book should be considered your bible. I found Gini’s perspective refreshing and I trust her claims and examples because they are backed by a PR/IMC  professional who has all the necessary industry credentials and accolades.

Outside of academic material, which can often be too cerebral, outdated, or action-oriented, this book exceeded my expectations. As an avid business book reader, this book has tips and tricks that I have not used or heard of yet. A few of my favorite tips and tools included: Talkwalker Alerts, Manage the Content Scrapers, and Livefrye.

In regards to the specific field of IMC, this book will resonate even with students, like myself, who do not have a traditional PR background. If nothing else, you will better be able to appreciate a field that has disdainfully been labeled as a spin producing factory. At the conclusion of the book, I was distinctly left with the impression that Gini is trying to help the PR industry take back the field (minus the spin) by redefining the future of the industry.

If I have not been able to convince you to start to follow Gini, she will sway you better with the award winning thought leadership content she shares on social media. Just Google her name and you will see the full list of industry accolades that she and her team have been able to achieve without the use of spin! After all, spin really does suck.

Facebook

Linked In

Spinsucks.com

Google+

I hope you were one of the first 50 registrants for INTEGRATE 2014. I heard that you will be receiving a complimentary copy of her book! If you did not sign up in time, her book is available both in print and in electronic formats from your trusted fine retailers. If you purchase the book before April 5th and email Gini
(gdietrich@armentdietrich.com | Subject Line: I Bought Spin Sucks!) a receipt she will send you free ebooks and webinars. She continues posting even more content.

If you have read her book, help spread the message that #SpinSucks across your social channels.

Since we are about two months away from the conference, you still have time to read Spin Sucks! Come prepared for a lively discussion at INTEGRATE, just make sure to leave any and all spin at home. See you at INTEGRATE 2014!

Comment below and let me know if I will see you there!

Q/A with Ian Greenleigh, author of “The Social Media Side Door”

November 12, 2013

Ian Greenleigh ET BannerLast week on LinkedIn, Jason Falls posted a link for the opportunity to win a copy of the recently released book “The Social Media Side Door: How to Bypass the Gatekeepers to Gain Greater Access and Influence.” In order to win, I had to submit one question to the author, Ian Greenleigh, about the changing landscape of social media. The chosen questions would be subsequently answered by Ian on his blog.

Even though my question does not appear on his blog, Ian reached out to let me know that he liked my question and that I would be receiving a copy of his new book! Ian has graciously given me permission to share on this blog his answer to my question.

Q: How does Integrated Marketing factor into the social media landscape? 

A: “Integrated marketing is always the ideal, but it’s easier said than done. For one thing, different marketing units within the larger organization are typically evaluated against separate goals. Success to the PR team, for example, is not the same definition of success that guides the email marketing team.

That said, all teams are interested in executing more efficiently and easily. That’s why I think the best integrated campaigns are modular and repurposeable. By modular, I mean that the larger effort can be broken down into many pieces for myriad applications. By repurposeable, I mean that the same content can live in a variety of formats, and appeal to more than one audience, across several efforts.

For example, say you’ve just created a white paper based on company research. It contains dozens of interesting statistics, facts, and statements. This white paper can serve as the basis for a webinar, and can be repurposed into presentations for use at conferences. The sections of the paper can be the basis for a series of blog posts that will require very little editing from the original text. The statistics can be visualized and posted as images on Facebook, and each one can be a separate tweet. The section subheads are bold and provocative, so why not use them as headlines in your next advertising campaign?

Integrated marketing, done right, means the output is greater than the sum of its parts. It means that each marketing team take something of value from a larger effort, and as such, each team should be eager to contribute.” (Greenleigh, 2013)

What do you think of the concept of “modular” and “repurposeable” as it relates to IMC?

Let’s {Not} Talk About Branding

August 5, 2013

Everywhere you go branding seems to be a hot button issue.  “Pick us! We can help you create your brand!”

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So often branding, or your brand, is viewed as something we need to do or talk about.  As our beloved IMC 618 class and Marty Neumeier taught us, a brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what your customers say it is.  Yes, companies have some control over their brand however, it really boils down to how your customers view your product, service, or organization.  That being said, companies and organizations need to stop talking about branding, or a brand, as something you can completely manipulate and control.  Discussions around branding should stem from a great understanding of who you are as an organization and how you are viewed by your clients.  Your promise to them (who you say you are) should be the foundation for every major decision within your organization.

A few years ago, my organization went through what we lovingly refer to as our Branding Project.  We created a process, similar to the Brand Gap, in which we reevaluated who we were as an organization and how we were viewed by the students on our campus.  It was a very long process that we’re still developing today.  Yes, we did come out of the project with a shiny new logo, but that wasn’t the most important development.  We also came out of the project with a much deeper understanding of who we are, why that matters, and what we need to do in order to live up to the expectations of students on campus  Now, a company can’t be all things to all people and by staying true to your brand you may lose people.  That’s ok! Your remaining customers will become more invested and you will find new customers.  It’s important to think of branding as attempting to align your identity (internal) and your image (external).

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If a company aims to improve their brand image, and discussions on branding need to occur, those conversations should run the gamete of the entire organization, not focus solely on the marketing department.  Are your employees happy and do they treat customers with respect?  What kind of environment are customers stepping into when they walk into your business?  Is the facility clean and welcoming?  Do your customers understand the message you’re trying to convey?  Many times, companies measure the results of initiatives aimed to improve their brand image in a marketing scope.  Increased brand awareness is equated to increased website traffic, more engagement on social media, or an increase in sales.  Those are all great measurement tools however, companies and organizations must measure the content of the message as well as the effectiveness of the  marketing.  Organizations today should set separate branding and marketing goals.  Think about measuring the effectiveness of the content and the effectiveness of the content placement.

It is extremely important for your organization to take their brand image and identity into consideration every day.  However, a shift needs to occur from talking ABOUT branding, to talking from a branding perspective.  Incorporate how you want your customers to view you into every aspect of your organization and you’ll find greater success!

Tips and Tools for Back to School

July 31, 2013

If you’re following the IMC group on LinkedIn, incoming student Kristi Hansen started a great discussion by asking – “any recommendations for a first time online student?” The responses include tips that I wholeheartedly support and at least one that I can’t believe I’m just now learning of (built-in citations in Word). Thanks, Kevin!

Whether you are completely new to the program, returning from an extended break, or still catching your breath after completing the summer term, now may be a good time to refine your productivity habits and get ready for a successful year. I tend to be a late-adopter, but a great lesson I’ve learned from my classmates and professors is to accept technology and take advantage of resources that enable us to work smarter.

Turtle on a skateboard

Work smarter, not harder

I’m currently working through Michael Sliwinski’s 10 Steps to Ultimate Productivity Video Course. This is a free course that offers advice on how to stay on top of it all by managing your inboxes, knowing when tasks are really projects, working through tasks by context, and more. While each step only takes about five minutes to watch or review, you may want to take time out to integrate some suggestions into your own processes. Sliwinski often pairs the advice with his own Nozbe system, but I found that I could apply most of his recommendations with Evernote.

Let’s talk about Evernote. Every so often I come across an app, movie, food, or some other product that I could shamelessly promote in the street without any paid compensation or company affiliation. After some initial resistance and a few trials with inferior applications, what finally convinced me to give Evernote a shot was the fact that I could download and manage it on my PC. This not only speeds up input and organization but gives me the option to keep notebooks local or on the cloud. Cloud items are synced with my phone app, and their Android widget allows me specify which lists I keep at a glance.

Evernote logo

For IMC coursework, you can use Evernote to create notebooks for each class and sub-notebooks for each week. Given that course readings, discussions, and assignments are often catalysts for new ideas, another great feature of the application is that you can organize your thoughts and classmates’ suggestions on other marketing or job-related projects. How many brilliant ideas never see the light of day because they get buried in a college-ruled spiral notebook? If you’re looking for a better system to get and stay organized, I encourage you to give Evernote a chance.

My last recommendation is a bit less technology-based but an invaluable resource nonetheless. For students who’ll be juggling family and home life with their coursework, a local library can be a haven for quiet time and longer sessions of uninterrupted work. This may seem like unnecessary added time away from the family, but a few hours of productive alone time can actually help you be more “available” to your loved ones later on. If your county or city library branches are not up to par with good Wi-Fi and quiet areas, don’t be afraid to “blend in” at a local college library. I personally alternate between several local libraries with varying early morning to late evening hours that fit my family schedule.

Library Photo

The best libraries are spacious with quiet zones, multiple power sources, and strong Wi-Fi.

What tools, tips and resources will you use to manage the upcoming school year? Let me know what you think of Sliwinski’s productivity course or how you use Evernote to juggle responsibilities.